The rapper returned to the United States on Saturday, leaving behind him the impending verdict in an episode that led to an unexpected tension between the United States and its European ally.

 

The US government warned Sweden of the “negative consequences” of its plea in favour of rapper ASAP Rocky at his assault trial in Stockholm this week, according to a pair of letters published by the Swedish Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Rocky was released from prison on Friday pending the verdict, and President Donald Trump celebrated the news on Twitter. “It was a rocky week, go home as soon as possible!” Trump said.

The rapper returned to the United States on Saturday, leaving behind him the impending verdict in an episode that led to an unexpected tension between the United States and its European ally.

According to the letters, obtained by Aftonbladet, a partner of NBC News, the US President’s special envoy for hostage affairs wrote to Swedish prosecutors asking them to release Rocky.

“The United States government wants to resolve this case as soon as possible to avoid potentially negative consequences on bilateral relations between the United States and Sweden,” Ambassador Robert O’Brien wrote in his letter dated Wednesday.

In response, the Swedish Attorney General, Petra Lundh, defended the independence of the Swedish courts and said that she should therefore dismiss Ms. O’Brien’s claims.

“No other prosecutor, not even me, can interfere in a specific case or try to assign the prosecutor in charge,” Lundh wrote in a letter dated Thursday.

These letters marked the last intervention by American officials in a case that caught the attention of personalities ranging from the President to Justin Bieber.

Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, was arrested and charged with assault during a street fight in the Swedish capital on June 30.

Trump began to weigh on the case last month following protests from celebrities, including reality TV star Kim Kardashian-West and musician Rod Stewart.

Mr Trump said that he had met with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to request his release and “personally guaranteed his bail”.

Löfven responded to Trump’s public pressure by saying that the rapper would not receive special treatment and that the judiciary was free to act independently without political influence.

The Grammy double nominee was the headliner of Smash x Stadion, a two-day hip-hop festival in Stockholm. He has been forced to cancel a series of shows during his European tour since his arrest on 3 July after a judge decided that he would remain in detention because he was at risk of running away.

He pleaded not guilty on Tuesday at the beginning of his high-profile trial.

Mr. O’Brien attended the hearings this week, during which Mr. Rocky told the court that he had tried to settle the dispute peacefully and reason with two men who had confronted him before a fight occurred.

The American envoy stressed that Washington was “grateful to have been able to assist and observe the judicial process” in Sweden.

After Friday’s final arguments, a judge ordered Rocky’s release pending the verdict.

Although the United States has given assurances that Rocky would not leave Sweden if he were released, the judge decided that the rapper could leave the country in the meantime.

Rocky shared a moving post on Instagram after its release, thanking fans for their support during this “very difficult and humiliating experience”.

A final judgment in this case is expected on August 14.

Categories: World

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